Monday, March 31, 2014

Madeleine Gets (More) Creative

Madeleine found many different outlets through which to display her creativity today, from pretend-play games to artwork to music making. 

To begin with, she hand-crafted a card for her friend, whose birthday is tomorrow.  The illustrations are complete with a picture of Madeleine and her friend in what appear to be penis-hats:

Even more enticing are the wiggly little sperm balloons on the card's cover:

I bet her friend is going to love this masterpiece. 

Later in the day, Madeleine launched right into a music lesson, in which she taught herself how to play the pennywhistle.  And by taught herself, I mean she blew with all her might into the pennywhistle over and over again, emitting the exact same shrill, high-pitched shriek for about 30 minutes straight.  Now, she didn't JUST wail on the penny whistle non-stop, of course.  She stopped to make really important comments, like, "Mama!  Did you hear me practicing my FLUTE?  I was playing 'The Big House!"  ("The Big House," a song from the movie we recently saw, "Muppets Most Wanted," does actually have more of a melody than one repeated pitch ad nauseum, but I guess Madeleine doesn't seem to realize that.)

The pennywhistle fun continued as I started cooking dinner and Julia sat down to practice her math facts with Daddy.  Julia wound up in tears of frustration, and just completely melted down despite Ethan's attempts to walk her through the subtraction problems.  I can't really understand why Julia was upset.  It's not like anything MAJORLY ANNOYING AND DISTRACTING was going on in the adjacent room or anything.

I had to interrupt my dinner cooking at one point, because Madeleine ran into the kitchen, eager to show me something really important.

MADELEINE: Mama!  Mama!  Do you wanna come and see where I keep all my FLUTES?  Come and see where I keep all my flutes Mama!  But...I only have ONE flute.

So I went to see where she keeps all her one flutes.  It turns out she keeps them on my music stand of flute music:

Binder of flute music and Madeleine's pennywhistle on my music stand

Anyway, the pennywhistle marathon finally did - thankfully - come to an end, so we were granted a small amount of peace and quiet before the kids had melt-downs over cleaning up the ginormous mess of toys in the living and dining rooms. 

And just in case you want a visual of the master artiste and flautist herself, you can see that she chose to actively express her fashion creativity as well this afternoon:

Cinderella crown, long-sleeved tee and pajama pants.  I know you all want an ensemble JUST like it!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Just a Normal Old Day

Just some normal dinner time conversation:

MADELEINE: Okay, Julia, are you ready?  I'll count to THREE!
JULIA: I don't even know what I'm supposed to DO, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: You have to try and hold your breath for TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES!
JULIA: (with disdain) No one can do that, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: Yes they can.  Watch!  I'm an EXPERT at doing it! (holding her breath and puffing out her cheeks)
JULIA: (nervously) Don't do it Madeleine!  Madeleine!  Madeleine!  (becoming frantic) Madeleine, will you PLEASE just take a breath?!?  MADELEINE!

(I should point out that Julia was in hysterics over this after Madeleine had held her breath for about 3 seconds.  And by "holding her breath," I mean keeping her mouth closed and puffing out her cheeks while continuing to breathe through her nose.)

Just some normal bedtime conversation:

MADELEINE: Mama?  Is the voice who does Princess Luna named Courtney?
ME: Uh...I don't think so.  Why?
MADELEINE: sounds like it's Courtney.
ME: What do you mean?
MADELEINE: Because she talks like this: (launching into an imitation of Princess Luna's voice) She defeated herself!
ME: And why does that sound like her name is Courtney?
MADELEINE: Well, because...she kind of sounds like she's YOU.

Yup, Madeleine figured me out.  All this time I have been voicing the part of Princess Luna on "My Little Pony."  Now my secret is out.

Just some normal tv watching attire:

Never a dull moment!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Madeleine Plays Babies

Madeleine is in the throes of a very involved game of baby dolls:

She's the mommy, and these are all her little kids, who accompanied her on vacation to the south, because Madeleine had to go to the south to visit her friend "Felicity, who is Julia but Julia's really at school."  (I had the opportunity to be Felicity, but believe it or not, I passed it up, so the role fell to the absent Julia.)

Madeleine prepared for this vacation by "folding laundry," aka folding at least five different baby blankets (and let me tell you: Madeleine can actually fold!  Maybe she will become my REAL laundry folding helper sometime in the near future!  Unlike Julia, who likes to help me fold but winds up balling the clothes into crooked lumps inistead.) 

 Mad's mad folding skillz

In addition, Madeleine dressed her babies in coats, diapers, and hats, packed up the play diaper bag, and even got our spare booster seat from the downstairs hallway to use in transportation.  No matter that the booster seat is actually intended for real children ages 4-8; Madeleine just took advantage of its girth and fit multiple baby dolls atop it!

Madeleine also spent at least an hour wearing the hood of her spring jacket over her head, all as part of the game.

ME: Honey, do you want to put your hood down?
MADELEINE: Uh, NO, because it's gonna be RAINING on my vacation.  Mama.  FIRST it's a really nice day, but then it STARTS to rain so I need my hood.

Madeleine in the "rain."

It sounds like vacation was a real blast for the babies.  I interviewed their mother while they were in the midst of playing together.

ME: Madeleine, what are the babies doing?
MADELEINE: Uh..."Find the Crown."
ME: Oh.  So will you tell me about what you're doing on vacation with your babies?
MADELEINE: So, like, the babies have to try to find the crown, of the, the babies all talk, and one of the babies said "I found the crown!" and SNEAKED it past the witch that took the crown.

Ooh la la, what an exotic vacation activity!  I know that whenever *I* go on vacation, my favorite thing to do is to sneak a crown past the witch that took the crown.  Let the good times roll!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Important Poetry Book

Today, I was so excited to finally receive Julia's very own book of poems, written during her class unit on poetry! She has been telling me all about the various types of poems she's written, and I have been waiting to see the final result.  And let me tell you: it's good stuff, folks.  I won't give away the WHOLE poetry book, but I'll give you some highlights, starting with the dazzling cover:

The Important Poetry Book
By: Julia Rowe

(The students all got to come up with their own titles for their individual poetry books.  I think Julia hit the nail on the head here with her own title.)

Inside the cover, we get to learn a little more about Julia Rowe, poet-in-training:

"I live at home with my family.  Their names are Madeleine Ethan Cortnuy and Shannon.  When I am not at school you can find me galliping around the house.  My interests are Amarican Girls and the aldin days.  My favorite foods are kasidieas and pizza.  One thing you may not know about me is I play piano.  I love writing poems!"

Okay, first of all: Cortnuy??  Would that be "nuy" as in "buy" or as in the French pronunciation of the name "Guy"?  If the latter, then WOW! - Julia is a linguistic genius to come up with that sounding-out of the end of my name!  I think she is going to be a FRENCH MASTER!

Secondly, it would have probably been better if Julia had written "Auntie Shannon" because it kind of sounds like Ethan has himself TWO women.  I mean, Shannon IS my sister, but not my sister-wife, here, Jules.

And thirdly: yep, when she's not at school you pretty much CAN find Julia galliping around the house.  If she's not galliping around the house, she's quietly stewing (or loudly stewing, sometimes) over the fact that I made her stop galliping because our downstairs neighbors are home.

Ooookay.  Moving on to the real meat of the book here: the poems.  I'll share a few of my favorites.

The Important Poem

"The important thing about water is that it is cleir.  It is in the sink.  It can make bubbels when you use a straw. It can be from a river.  It is helthy for you.  But the important thing about water is that it is clear."

(Alternatively, one could say that the important thing about water is that without it you would die.  But I guess it being clear is important, too, because if it's not clear, uh, well, there's a good chance you'll die of cholera if you drink it.)


I Wish I Had a 100

"I wish I had 100 cupcakes.
I wish I had 100 names.
I wish I had 100 arms.
But I'd never want 100 sharks."

To the right of this poem, Julia wrote what appears to be a handful of the 100 names she wishes she had.  I noticed that at least 4 of them are the names of American Girl dolls.

Also, why does she want 100 arms?  I feel like that might be uncomfortable.

Anyway, next up is my FAVORITE of all Julia's poems:


"Happiness is helping others.  Happiness is kind and loveing.  Happiness is giving something to someone.  Happiness is dreming sweat drems.  Happiness is haveing all the things you need.  Happiness is just being me."

Well, that just sends warm tingles all through my heart, Jules!  I'm so glad you're happy just being you!  And also, I definitely drem sweat drems at night so I guess I have a lot of happiness too.

And then we have this one:

"The important thing about sand is that it skwishes bechwen your toes.  It is soft and rockey.  It has tracks in it.  It is yellow and you can build sand casles.  But the important thing about sand is that it skwishis betchwein your toes."

I can't wait for summer so we can frequent our usual summer haunt, Rosemary Pool, and feel the sand skwishing betchwein our toes!

Next up:
"Today the day I can be rambunckshis cuse its my birthday do the cha cha and eat my birthday cake!"

Julia definitely WAS rambunckshis on her real birthday.  She didn't do the cha cha, though.  Maybe next year.

Another heart-warmer follows:
"My house is beutiful.  I love my house.  It is my own house."

The first thing I thought when I read this is: I am SO glad that Julia loves her house, because Ethan and I definitely spend too much time noticing our house's inadequacies instead of viewing it as the place where we keep our family warm and safe.  Then I realized that Julia colored this house yellow and blue.  Our house is red.  And the girl in the picture has red hair.  So now I think that Julia wasn't ACTUALLY professing love for our house, and was instead writing about her drem house that she concocted in her mind while she was dreming a sweat drem.

Oh well.

And on to one of the more bizarre of Julia's poems:
"I saw a gout it was eting my blankit.  'BLANKIT!  Stop eting my blankit you silly gout.'  I yelld.  I dived under my bed and yell'd 'PILLOW!"

I don't even know what to say about that one.  I'm speechless.

Then there's Julia's "I Come From" poem, which I recently shared on facebook.  I am definitely well aware of the irony of her spelling of "ejukashon" at the bottom of the page.  Next to a backwards music note.

And finally:

"I have a sandwich.  It's butiful.  I will never eat it.  Oh sandwich I made it with pensels and glue.  Well I realy do regret takeing a littel nibel."

I love this one: how Shel Silverstein-esque!  A witty little conclusion to a VERY important book of poems!

Madeleine is not writing poems yet, but she is picking up more turns of phrases by the day.  And in typical Madeleine style, she feels free to use these manners of speech without even actually knowing what they mean.

Conversation with Madeleine upon picking her up from the childcare room at the Y:

MADELEINE: Mama!  I made an OBSTACLE course!
ME: You did?  An obstacle course?
MADELEINE: Yeah!  And Mama.  I made up my MIND.
ME: Great!
MADELEINE: (silent, reflecting) But Mama?  What does "made up my MIND" mean?

I like your courage, Madeleine.  Very bold and daring!  Talk first, ask questions later!

'Til next time, this is Cortnuy signing off...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What If

Julia's "What If" poem from school: Holy adjectives, Batman!

I guess it's not surprising that Julia's current poetry is so descriptive.  This is a kid who started writing her own poems back before she was even in kindergarten.  Don't forget such masterpieces as "Love Is Heart "and "Turtle."
And if you think back to one year ago, Julia was already writing prolific novels like "Well That Kid Was Not Poty Chrand Eauf."  So she's a rather seasoned poet by this point in her career.

Nevertheless, I would like to congratulate her on an extraordinary poem beautifully written!  To use some of her own words from former Christmas-themed books she wrote, Hooray Hooray Yay Yay Yay!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Afternoon with Madeleine

Madeleine is leading a brand new fashion trend today, and it's one that is SURE to catch on.  Because, really, what looks cooler than a price tag on your forehead?:

The best part of wearing a price tag on your head is that when you get tired of the look, you can just stick the price tag sticker on something else.  Madeleine quickly came up with an alternative use, sticking it on the cover of Julia's library book, "Happy Birthday Molly!"

MADELEINE: Mama?  This is how much it costs to buy MOLLY!

Ooh.  So now, instead of renting Molly for FREE from the school library, Julia can pay $10 for it!

Madeleine has since moved on from the price tag to a game of what she calls "My Little Pony," though the materials for the game consist of lots of bits of paper, 1 book written by Dolly Parton, and 0 ponies:

Confused about what ponies have to do with bits of cut-up paper being stuck on Childhood Dolly Parton's coat of many colors?  Madeleine explains.

ME: What are you playing?
MADELEINE: My Little Pony!
ME: My Little Pony?!?
MADELEINE: My Little Ponies: Tea Separations!

Ahh, now I see.  "My Little Ponies Tea Separations" CLEARLY means sticking pieces of cut up paper on Childhood Dolly Parton's coat while carrying on a conversation with Dolly Parton.

CHILDHOOD DOLLY PARTON: But Grandpoppy said my coat had to stay DIRTY!
MADELEINE: He MUST have been joking.
MADELEINE: Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.  But...look at your coat!
CHILDHOOD DOLLY PARTON: But look at my coat?
MADELEINE: Oooh, honey.  Oh, my dear, you're DIRTY, very DIRTY! 
CHILDHOOD DOLLY PARTON: Do you want me to cut MORE brownies for you?

Shockingly, the game lost its lustre after a few minutes, so Madeleine moved onto a new game: "Get Control."  This game involved the cut-out Native American that you can see in the corner of the above picture, as well as cut-out strips of white paper that served as giant feet.

This one may be more elusive even than "My Little Ponies Tea Separations."

Now, having moved on from both games, Madeleine is sitting on the potty with the bathroom door closed, undergoing one of her marathon poop sessions while she plays with dolls.

I just overheard her yelling out, "HARRY POTTER!  WAAAAKE UUUUUP!"

So.  Yeah.  All in all, just a normal afternoon in the Rowe household.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reading Queen

Julia has been an absolute reading machine lately.  Not only has she already nearly finished reading the two American Girl chapter books she took out of the school library on Friday, but she managed to read the entirety of the new American Girl book she bought at the bookstore yesterday in about 12 hours.  She is SO proud of her reading skills and the fact that nary a big word can stump her.  In fact, Julia has taken to loudly announcing the big words she encounters while reading.




"Mommy!  PNEUMONIA!  Did you know that I remembered that...well, was it you or Daddy who told me it starts with a P?  And, like, at first I didn't know what it said, but then I figured it OUT!"

As she has plowed through so many books over the past few days, Julia naturally began to think about what she might read to fill out the rest of the week until she gets to take new books out from the school library.  This topic came up during dinner this evening.

JULIA: Mommy, I have an idea!
ME: What?
JULIA: After I finish reading "Saige," I can read my BITTY TWINS American Girl book, and then I can start reading the American Girl books all over again!
ME: Good idea!
JULIA: Because, that's the good thing about books: no one can tell you when to STOP reading something or when to START reading.  Well, unless, like, you don't OWN the book and you have to return it to the LIBRARY.

Well, Julia definitely hit the nail on the head there about the great aspects of books. 

Throughout this dinner conversation, Madeleine was completely uninterested in both books AND her food, and was instead interested in playing with her array of Barbie dolls that she had organized around her dinner plate.

MADELEINE: (holding up her Cinderella Barbie and dancing it around) Julia, I'm making her EVIL.  She wasn't GONNA be evil, but then I decided to make her START being evil.
ME: Wait, Madeleine, which one is evil?
MADELEINE: (holding up Cinderella) HER!
ME: Why is she evil?
MADELEINE: Well, she didn't START evil, but then she BECAME evil when she started being mean to Witcha!

Madeleine then launched into a made-up song about Cinderella's evil ways, during which Julia shouted, "Mommy, I need to go POOP!"

Neither kid wound up eating their dinner. But seeing as Madeleine almost NEVER eats her dinner, and seeing as Julia had an ice cream sundae and two cupcakes at a birthday party in the late afternoon, I can't say I'm surprised. 

When it was time for bedtime stories, Julia opted to read to me rather than have me read to her.  And boy, what an experience it was.  I don't think Julia could make it through a single sentence without having to interrupt herself to remark upon some tangentially related thing.

JULIA: (reading) "Oh dear,' sighed Mrs. McIntire.  'A surprise blackout.  All right everyone, let's get going.  Jill, you close the blackout curtains.  Ricky, turn off all the lights."  WAIT.  MOM.  Why would they be turning off the lights if it was a BLACKOUT?  Wouldn't the lights already BE off?
ME: I think it's a pretend blackout.  Like a practice drill so that if there ever was a real blackout people would know what to do.
JULIA: Oh.  (resuming reading) "Molly and Emily, you take Brad downstairs."  Wait.  Mom.  One time at school we had a PRETEND fire drill, in the middle of ART class!
ME: Yeah, sometimes you'll have surprise drills, just to make sure you know how to act quickly when you weren't expecting to have to do anything.
JULIA: (back to the book) "I'll get some blankets and be right down."  (gazing up in the air with a faraway look in her eyes and a smile on her face) Wait.  Mom.  Did you know that when we HAD the surprise fire drill, all the kids were, like, saying, "Do you think it's a REAL fire?" 
ME: Oh, really?  Why don't you keep reading?
JULIA: "Molly was halfway to the stairs..." (gazing off into the air again) Mom?  But I don't think it was a REAL fire.
ME: Jules?  We're never going to get through this chapter if you keep yapping at me.

And so forth and so on.  I've gotta say, Julia must be a speed-reader when she does her silent reading, if she's able to churn through so many books in such a short time, all whilst fielding the multiple millions of slightly related thoughts flying through her head the whole time!

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Lessons I have learned from my children over the past 24 hours:

1.) No matter how carefully you try to guide your child through drinking lemonade from an open cup at a restaurant, chances that she is going to spill the lemonade are very high.  If you happen to be sitting next to her, she will almost certainly spill the full cup into YOUR lap rather than onto herself.

2.) Whoever coined the phrase "it's like riding a bike," obviously did not have a Nervous Nellie for a daughter.  In said daughter's case, the first few attempts of re-riding a bike after the winter's hiatus resulted into a) crashing into a tree, b) veering off the sidewalk onto the lawn and pitching herself off the bike into the ground, and c) immediately tipping over sideways the moment after mounting the bike.

(Luckily, once Julia remembered she DID in fact know how to ride, she was back in top form:)

3.) Sometimes you will be so anxious to get out the door with your kids, and so glad that your child FINALLY agrees on a pair of shoes, that you will take her out to the store dressed in a (way too small) toddler sunhat, tee-shirt, floral skirt and a pair of snow boots without batting an eye. 

4.) When you allow your child free range in a bookstore to pick out any ONE book she wants to buy, she will, of course, skip over any variety of books by top-notch children's authors, and will ABSOLUTELY judge a book solely by its cover.  Thus, you will wind up paying good money for a poorly rhyming book about a coat written by none other than:

Dolly Parton

5.) When your child sees the above picture of the author, she will wind up having the following conversation with you:

MADELEINE: But...but...why does she have that kind of mouth and look so EVIL?  Like Aunt Zelda's evil TWIN?
ME: Uh...does Aunt Zelda have an evil twin?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  In "Sabrina the Teenage Witch."  And her evil twin looks JUST like that girl.  
ME: Oh.  Hmm.  Well, that girl is named Dolly Parton, and she's a singer.
MADELEINE: (wistfully) I wish I could have THAT kind of mouth.
ME: What kind of mouth do you mean?
MADELEINE: Like, really, really DARK.
ME: Well, her mouth just looks dark because she's wearing lipstick.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh! Then I'm gonna wear LIPSTICK!

Yes, folks, the book has spoken to Madeleine in more ways than one: she now aspires to make herself up to look just like Dolly Parton.

6.) Nothing beats a post-bedtime-story snuggle with your kid.  Even if the kid's newest favorite thing to do is make gross swishing and slurping sounds with her saliva, just because, "I just really like doing that with my MOUTH."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Conversing With the Kids

Highlights from today's conversations with the kids:

JULIA: Mom?  Did you know that everytime anyone says "genes," I picture Daddy PULLING HIS JEANS up??
ME: You do?  That's so funny.
JULIA: Yeah.  And, like, he has a SMILE on his face while he's doing it.
ME: So if you hear something about having genes for, like, brown hair, or something, you picture Daddy pulling up his jeans?
JULIA: Yeah!  (thoughtful and reflective for a moment) Well, he's not, like, going to the BATHROOM or anything.  He's just pulling his jeans up because, like, they were falling DOWN.

Wow.  I had just assumed he was pulling up his jeans because they were baggy.  I definitely hadn't even considered the image of Ethan, fresh off the pot, smiling and pulling his jeans back up.  Thanks for the lovely mental picture, Jules.

Madeleine had other bathroom matters to discuss on our way home from school today.

MADELEINE: Mama?  At school the teachers say we should wash our hands after we go to the bathroom.
ME: Yeah, well it's always a good idea to wash your hands after you've used the bathroom somewhere.
MADELEINE: And Mama.  There's a BATHROOM picture that shows that first you should put soap on your hands, THEN you should RUB THEM TOGETHER, then you should rinse them in the water, and then you should REACH UP to the paper towels.
ME: Ohh, so it kind of shows the STEPS for washing your hands.
MADELEINE: (giggling like I am totally ridiculous) Uh...MAMA.  You said "STEPS."
ME: Yeah, I mean, like the steps for watching your hands.
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  You said "STEPS."

I then launched into an explanation of the word "steps" as used to represent the consecutive order in which an operation is performed, versus "steps" meaning picking up your foot and putting it down in another location.  Whether or not I made any sense to Madeleine is unclear, as she appeared to continue thinking her mother is just a big fat dolt.

On another note, Julia explained the start of a new classroom project as we walked to school today: the children all picked four topics/skills on which they are experts.  The next step (see, Madeleine?) will be to create instructions that can be used by others to gain this particular skill. 

What did Julia pick?  Any guesses?

Here are her self-chosen fields of expertise:

1.) Playing the piano
2.) Painting her nails
3.) Swinging
4.) Drawing

This made me wonder what Madeleine would pick if asked about her own expertise. 

ME: Madeleine, what are you an expert at?
MADELEINE: (without a moment's hesitation) PAINTING.
ME: Oh yeah?  What makes you an expert at painting?
MADELEINE: Because.  It's really, really FUN!  And...when it DRIPS down the paper, I just try to PUSH it back up. doesn't really push back up, and...if I put my FINGER under it to stop it from dripping, then my hands would get all it just DRIPS AND DRIPS down the paper.
ME: Oh.  What else are you an expert at?
MADELEINE: Uh, coloring.
ME: That's true.  You are definitely REALLY good at coloring.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  But...NOT as good as remembering how much FINGERS everyone has.

Well, of COURSE.  How could I forget Madeleine's area of highest expertise?  I mean, she remembers that I have ten fingers, she remembers that Julia has ten fingers, she remembers that Ethan has ten fingers, and on and on.  That's a *really* hard thing to keep track of.  I think she could definitely be of benefit to the world at large by sharing that bit of expertise with the general population, wouldn't you agree??

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Wait for Spring

This morning, upon waking, the girls piled into bed to with Auntie Shannon, who was checking the weather forecast on her tablet.

AUNTIE SHANNON: Girls, do you think it will EVER be spring?
MADELEINE: Uh, I'll go check Mama.  (traipsing out of the room)

I was suddenly awoken by Madeleine bursting into my bedroom.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Auntie Shannon wants to know when it will ever be spring, but I FORGOT the day you told me.
ME: It will be spring on Friday.
MADELEINE: Thank you Mama.  (exiting my room.)

A moment later, Madeleine returned to Julia and Auntie Shannon to deliver the news.


Whew.  Good thing we have her around to save the day.  Now Auntie Shannon knows for SURE when it will be spring.

Now, just because Madeleine knows that spring will be here on Friday doesn't mean that she actually knows WHEN Friday is.  We just had the following conversation:

MADELEINE: But Mama?  Is tomorrow going to be spring?
ME: Uh, no, Friday.
MADELEINE: (with hopeful eagerness) Is tomorrow Friday??
ME: Nope, two days, it's Friday.
MADELEINE: (delighted) Wait. So TOMORROW is Friday and then the NEXT day is Friday?
ME: No.  Tomorrow is THURSDAY.  Then the next day is Friday.
MADELEINE: (logically) But Mama.  You just said that TWO days it's gonna be Friday. 
ME: Yes, because IN two days it will be Friday.
MADELEINE: But Mama. You said it will be Friday TWO DAYS.  So that means tomorrow is Friday and the NEXT day is Friday again!

Semantics, semantics.  Sigh.

I know I'm eager for spring, but I hadn't realized how anxious Madeleine is for the change of season.

ME: Madeleine, why are you so excited for spring?
MADELEINE: Because.  Stuff will grow BACK.
ME: And do you like winter?
MADELEINE: (adamantly) NO!
ME: Why not?
MADELEINE: Because it's sooo BORING,'s FUN when we SLED!
ME: Oh.  So you DO like winter?

There's one thing I can say about Madeleine.  She definitely knows her own mind.

I decided to see if Madeleine has any real understanding of what spring is actually like.  The answer of.

ME: So, what kinds of things do you think will start to happen once it turns to spring?
MADELEINE:  The flowers will grow, the bug berries will come...
ME: What are bug berries?
MADELEINE: They're little bugs with WINGS, and they creep around, and they're JOYFUL!  They spread bugs!

Oh, man.  Well, if THAT'S what happens in spring, then I definitely can't wait for it to come!  (Not that I was counting down the days or anything.  Or cursing the weather forecast for looking very un-springy over the next 10 days...)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Madeleine Got STYLE

On Saint Patrick's Day, some people might like to dress up in green an/or Irish-themed clothing.

Madeleine chose to dress up today, as well, but not in the expected St. Paddy's fashion:

Here, she sports a dress over a pair of leggings, orange socks, a green beaded necklace, a sunhat, and a pair of cat ears, and holds a Dora mermaid doll in lieu of a standard clutch.

A little later n the day, she tweaked her look a bit and was suddenly a high fashion witch:

The best part is that *I* also had to be a witch, because really, who can turn down a "but pleeeasy pleeeease can you wear it?" when Madeleine hands you a witch hat??  No matter that we had to go out in the car; the hat was non-negotiable.  I'm certain that the road construction workers who had to cautiously wave me across their work area didn't think I was totally weird AT ALL as I sat in the driver's seat in my pointy witch hat.

Now, while Julia didn't dress up in either Erin Go Bragh gear or witch/cat costumes, she did have her moment in the spotlight today, singing "Let it Go" from "Frozen" for me on video.  This is a big deal, folks; Julia has been longing to finally memorize all the lyrics, as all of her friends at school have done.  Today she (almost) had the whole piece down:

And with that I will end this post, dear blog readers, and you are all welcome for me getting that song stuck in your heads yet AGAIN.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Morning Coloring

The girls are busy coloring this morning, and let's be real here: what would ANY activity be without a made-up song to accompany it?

Madeleine vocalised about Hello Kitty's adventures in Ballet School as she colored, though you will notice that it seems the song could only occur simultaneously with the coloring.  At one point, when Julia needed to borrow the marker Madeleine had been using, the song was paused, as if Hello Kitty reverted to an inanimate object when she was not being brought to life by markers.

On an unrelated note, while Ethan cooked dinner yesterday, the girls watched "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and I headed upstairs to my bedroom to watch a non-kid-friendly movie, "Dallas Buyers Club."  At one point, I heard footsteps clomping up the stairs outside my bedroom door, so I paused the movie and greeted a cheery Madeleine as she burst into the room.

MADELEINE: (pointing at the frozen still-image of Matthew McConnaughey on the tv screen) Mama?  Who's THAT?
ME: That's Matthew McConnaughey.  He's an actor.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh!  When I was walking up the stairs, I heard a BOY voice that sounded like JESUS, and that guy even LOOKS like Jesus!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Classwork and Drawings

Julia came home from school recently with this ABC chart:

The students had to think up a word that began with each letter.  I have to say, I like Julia's choices.  I can guess that "bonat" was inspired by Julia's American Girl reading, because Felicity wears a bonat.  I especially like that Julia chose "disco ball" for "D."  That's a WAY more interesting choice than something like "dog," which is what I probably would have done.  "Pine niddel" for "P" is pretty clever too.  My favorites might be the various animals, though.  The wolras that's smashing his head into the barrier between "W" and "X" is pretty awesome.  The zebbra and the yak facing each other, giving each other the stare-down might be the best ones, though.

Madeleine also made some very sweet artwork recently.  When I picked her up from the child care room at the Y yesterday, she proudly presented me with a picture, exclaiming, "I thought you might like this!"  Behold, a Hello Kitty picture dedicated to her family members:

I particularly like the fact that Madeleine is still compelled to give Hello Kitty a mouth.

At least we can see that Madeleine is capable of producing happy, innocent artwork, because the rest of her drawings from yesterday were TOTAL creep fests:

OH MY GOD.  Nightmares.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

More of the Same

Hooray, hooray!  Julia has completed chapter 2 of "Meet Camileya" and has started chapter 3!  I know you have all been waiting with bated breath.  So, we continue from where we last left off (which, if you need a refresher, was with Lila and Camileya picking flowers, shortly after Camileya got her invitation to the ball and missed out on the elikant dress of her dreams.)

"I have disited you Lila Perdoson have givein this invitachon to invit you to our roule dinner party and ball.'  'OH Camileya did you ask for this to happen?' askt Lila.  'No!  No not at all.  Some one just gave it to me and said to diliver it to you.'  'I'll treser it forever.  I have something new to were.  We should were the flowers in our hiar.'  'It's a dele,' said Camileya.  'Here have some pie."

Yippee!  Lila got invited to the ball too!  And the flowers they just pik't will go PERFECTLY in their hiar, don't you think?  AND, I must admit, anytime *I* make a dele about what to wear to a ball, my immediate reaction is to have a piece of pie in celebration, too.

Chapter 3: "To the Ball"

"Camileya hurried to her room to get her dress on.  Than out of the corner of her eye she saw the green velvet dress she had wanted."

Oh.  My.  God.  Can it be true?!?!?  The eligant silk/velvet dress??

"Muther!  Father!  Elexsa!  Jasper!  Clara!  Look!  It's the dress!  The dress I wanted!'  'Well it was put down to 6 doller's becuse no one was rich enoph.'  'Oh!  And did you get a dress for Clara as well?'  'YES INDED I DID!'  'She looks absolutly adoribul,' said Camileya.  'And the finest silk as well,' she added."

WOW.  No one was rich enuph to afford a $600 dress, so the retailers did what any smart business person would do: just decrease the price by 99%.  SOLD!  Easy peasy! 

Also, I wonder how poor Elexsa feels about the fact that both her sisters got new dresses but she didn't.

"Camileya chwerel'd and look't in the mirrer.  Oh how eligant the silk was!  'I'm redy to go Father,' Camileya said."

Camileya does look pretty eligant in her silk/velvet dress.  No wonder she was chwerling around and looking in the mirrer.  I bet she's going to have a BLAST at the ball with Lila.  I can't wait to read all about it!  Here's hoping Julia has time to add to her book after school today!

Madeleine added to her own art portfolio this morning, as well, and there's a WHOLE story behind her picture, too.

MADELEINE: (pointing to the pink-haired, brown-faced person) Look!  That's me when I was LITTLE and I dyed my hair pink!
ME: Oooh!
MADELEINE: I have BROWN on my face!  Because...that was JESUS and we ate chocolate together. (pointing to the brown-haired, brown-faced figure next to the pink-haired Madeleine.)
ME: (pointing to the man with glasses) Who's that?
MADELEINE: Oh.  That's Daddy!
ME: Oh, okay.
MADELEINE: And me and Julia are being the GUESSERS.
ME: Okay.
MADELEINE: Wait.  Mama.  What's that game called again?
ME: Uh...
MADELEINE: Where you write stuff down?
ME: Um...Mad Libs?
ME: (pointing at the all-brown figure over to the left) And who's that person?
ME: Oh, I see.
MADELEINE: And Mommy, LOOK!  Daddy is reading us Mad Libs, AND he's pointing a wand at Voldemort!
ME: Oh, great!
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And the wand was coming off, but Jesus glued it.  To Daddy's HEAD!
ME: Jesus glued it, huh?
MADELEINE: Yes.  And I'm being all, like, "Let it Go" is the greatest song ever and I'm just standing there SINGING it. (launching into the song in real life.)

And with that, I'm going to have to let it go and end this post.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Camileya Continues

Well, folks, if you have been desperately waiting to Meet Camileya a little further, you are in luck!  The author has made further progress in her book, completing chapter one and commencing work on chapter two.  To get you all caught up, I will pick up from where we last left off:

Chapter 1: "Invited to the Ball"

"Camileya can't you here anything?  Get some apples.'  Camileya Mersinman was siting on the grownd with her sister Elexsa.  'Sorry Elexsa but the decorashon's Muther put up are just so livly.'  'Well I cold ask Jasper to get apple's.'  Before Elexsa could say one more word Camileya ran out the door.  'CAMILEYA YOU FORGOT YOUR BASKIT!'  'Oup's' cried Camileya.  She got her baskit and ran down to the apple tree."

Aw, man, typical Camileya.  So wrapped up in day-dreaming about the livly decorashon's that Muther put up that she didn't even hear Elexsa tell her to get some apples.  And then she goes running out and forgets her baskit??  Get with the program, Camileya!

"Camileya alway's clim'd to the top of the tree becuse the josist apple's were ther.  Theis will be the perfik't apple's for apple siter.  She disidid to have just one.  Oh how it was so delishis.  Than she reimembird why she was thair."

Sheesh, Camileya, you're not redeeming yourself much here.  Now you're getting distracted by the josy, delishis apple's and eating them instead of gathering some for Elexsa.  Maybe Elexsa SHOULD have sent Jasper out to pick them.

(On a side note, I've come to the conclusion that Julia REALLY loves her some apostrophes.)

"When she was done she heriyd back home.  'Elexsa!' exklaimd Camileya.  Elexsa's cheik's were pink with exsitman't.  'Oh Camileya you were invited to a ball!'  Camileya piksherd a ball in her heid.  'Camileya can you go to the market your father will pick one out with you,' said her Muther."

HOW EXSITING!  An invitation to the ball!  I don't know about you, but I too have alwyas piksherd a ball in my heid.  And I am *guessing* that Camileya is not headed to the market to pick out a BALL, but to pick out a gown.  Sneaky Julia, leaving us to figure that out for ourselves.

"Wich one is a fine one for you my Camileya?'  Just than she saw the most elikant dres in the world.  'That one,' she said.  'It is lovely, but it's 600 doler's.  Oh,' she felt the eligant silk.  'If only I could by it!"

Wow.  And elikant dress made of eligant silk!  No wonder she wants to by it!  But seriously, 600 doler's is way too much to spend on a dress for the ball.  Poor Camileya; what a roller coaster of emotions in such a short time.  First the exsitmant of getting an invitation to the ball, then the big let-down over the most elikant dress in the world.

"Well I think I'll were my old pink dres with a shinie purpe boe.'  'Well that is a fine dress Camie.  But waite.  You are going to a ball so I shall call you Camileya!"

(JULIA: Mom?  You know how in "Felicity," she has a NICKNAME?  So, I decided that Camileya is going to have a nickname too and people call her CAMIE!
ME: Sounds good.
JULIA: But Mom?  COULDN'T Camie be a nickname for Camileya?
ME: Yes, it could.
JULIA: But Mom?  Do you think Camie is a GOOD nickname for Camileya?
ME: I think it's GREAT.)

Well, at least the old pink dres with the shinie purpe boe looks awfully pretty, despite its being old.  I know that Camie - oh, waite, she's going to a ball so I should call her CAMILEYA - is disappointed not to get the elikant green dress, but the pink one doesn't look half bad to me.

Chapter 2: "Flowers"

"Camileya was out in the garden sewing.  Camileya injuyd the sun beiring on her face.  She was with her best friend Lila."

I also injuy the sun beiring on my face.  I wish we could see a little more of it lately.  Maybe I should be out sewing with Camileya and Lila in their nice, sunny, warm world.

"CAMIE!  CAMIE!' it was Jasper calling to her.  Follow'd by muther who was holeding Clara then Father and the Elexsa.  'What?'  'LOOK!  LOOK!' shouted Elexsa.  Then she saw the most betiful flower's in the hole world.  'Where did they come from?' ask't Camileya.  'Oh ther butiful,' said Lila.  'Can we pick them?' ask't Lila.  'Oh can we muther can we?'  'That is up to you,' she said.  'I supuse they are redy to be pick't and be in a vase."

Julia was VERY proud of her drawing of these butiful (or is it betiful?) flowers, and I don't blame her.  If I saw the flowers she drew out in my backyard, I would want to pick them too.

"Lila and Camileya pick't almost all the flower's there were.  'Oh Camie you are so luky to have a gardan and a grenn house.'  'You also have lovely things that I also want,' said Camileya."

Oh, BUMMER!  We have to stop there??  Not even a picture?  Julia better get back to work on this book when she gets home from school, because I'm desperate to find out what happens next!  And if you, like me, can't wait to hear what happens with the elikant green dress, I'll reassure you.  I have direct word from the author that the dress will wind up getting marked down from 600 to 6 dolers, so chances are good Camie will be able to afford it.  If not, some other girl better snatch it up, because that is a HECK of a discount.

To help keep you all at bay as you wait for the resolution of Camileya's story, I will share some of Madeleine's latest drawings.

I'm pretty sure this is Elsa weeping for her ice-statue sister Anna in "Frozen."  I do NOT, however, know why there is a decapitated blonde head floating around in the air.

Happy smiling people standing on their feet and on their hands.

Again, I'd be willing to bet that this is Olaf from "Frozen"; why his mouth is open in sheer and utter terror is beyond me.

And now for the creep factor drawings:

What.  the.  Shudder.

No words.
I'm frightened.